A ‘PASSIONATE’ police officer and ‘huge advocate for young people’ has died of a suspected heart attack hours after being taunted by a gang of youths.
PCSO Alex Franklin died at his Northamptonshire home sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning, spending his final hours with family and colleagues.
Just hours earlier he had been surrounded and mocked by a group of youngsters in Kettering, with footage of the incident doing the rounds on social media.
One widely shared post suggested he had suffered a heart attack after the confrontation, although an official cause of death is yet to be confirmed.
Response Sgt Steve Briggs has since revealed he and two colleagues had been with Mr Franklin and his family in the hours before his death.
‘Debbie Wishart, Lloyd Mason, and myself looked after Alex and his family last night, absolutely gutted, an awesome character of the highest order, such a sad and cruel situation,’ he tweeted. Northamptonshire Ch Con Nick Adderley led the tributes to Mr Franklin, tweeting: ‘Got the call this morning. How dreadfully sad and cruel. Such a dedicated family man, committed to serving his community with passion. He told me just a few short weeks ago that serving the community is what he was “born to do”. My deepest condolences to his wife and loved ones.’
Mr Franklin, who was in his early fifties, was a well-known figure in the Kettering and Corby area, working particularly closely with schools.
The Kettering Science Academy website contains an introduction to him, stating he had been a PCSO for 11 years and a school officer for eight of them. Mr Franklin himself is quoted as saying: ‘I decided to become a school officer largely because I felt the young people deserved to get through school with little to no issues.’
Northamptonshire Police have called for people to stop sharing the video of Mr Franklin’s taunting by the gang. They said its circulation is ‘causing distress to his family and friends who are already going through an extremely difficult time’.
Officers are in the process of reviewing the footage.